A production of Theater Basel in coproduction with Komische Oper Berlin and Vlaamse Opera Antwerpen. In Sanskrit with German and English surtitles.
Before Gandhi set foot on the world political stage and led the Indian independence movement as Mahatma (“great soul”), he spent his formative years in South Africa where his response to discrimination and injustice was to develop the concept of non-violent resistance under the name “Satyagraha” (“the power of truth”).
It was these early years in Gandhi’s life which inspired the American composer Philip Glass to write his opera ‘Satyagraha’. Using verses from the ancient Indian epic poem the ‘Bhagavad Gita’, one of the central texts of Hinduism, and with the aid of mesmerizing, almost hypnotic music Glass created a ritual “redemption play” about human beings’ capacity to influence history through their own actions – irrespective of the time and place. Glass emphasises this universality by referencing three of Gandhi’s historical contemporaries, each of whom lend their names to one of the three acts: Leo Tolstoy, Rabindranath Tagore and Martin Luther King, who kept Gandhi’s teaching alive after his death. With its call to stand up bravely for justice and to think independently, ‘Satyagraha’ remains, almost forty years after its celebrated world premiere in Rotterdam, a persuasive appeal for pacifism and civic courage.
On the occasion of Philip Glass’s 80th birthday, which will be marked with concerts and performances around the world in 2017, the dancer and choreographer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, who has a strong background in intercultural work and has been a regular guest in Switzerland at the STEPS dance festival, will offer a new interpretation of this rarely performed milestone in 20th century music theatre with a production featuring dancers from his company Eastman.
Parsi Rustomji / Krishna
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